US 20060173929 A1
Herein described is a method and system for providing shared access to data residing within non-data pool related file systems. Aspects of the invention incorporate the use of one or more share access mechanisms by which access to the data occurs. The one or more share access mechanisms may be enabled or disabled by way of one or more selections that are made using a user interface. In a representative embodiment, the user interface may comprise a web browser. The method may involve assigning one or more values to one or more variables such that one or more name-value pairs are generated. The one or more name-value pairs are stored in a non-volatile memory. Execution of a software program may enable the one or more share access mechanisms when one or more assigned values are equal to one or more enabling values.
1. A method of identifying one or more shared directories in a non-data pool related file system comprising:
assigning one or more name-value pairs; and
storing said one or more name-value pairs into a memory.
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11. A method of providing shared access to data stored in a non-data pool related file system comprising:
making one or more selections using a user interface;
applying said one or more selections;
generating one or more name-value pairs corresponding to said one or more selections;
storing said one or more name-value pairs into a memory; and
executing a software that selectively operates one or more share access mechanisms based on said one or more selections.
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19. A system of providing shared access to data stored in a non-data pool related file system comprising:
a software resident in said memory; and
a processor used for executing said software, said executing providing one or more mechanisms by which one or more shares on said non-data pool related file system may be accessed.
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This application makes reference to and claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/648583, entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR FLEXIBLY PROVIDING SHARED ACCESS TO NON-DATA POOL FILE SYSTEMS” filed on Jan. 31, 2005, the complete subject matter of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
This application makes reference to:
U.S. application Ser. No. 11/087136 filed Mar. 22, 2005;
U.S. application Ser. No. ______ (Attorney Docket No. 16352US02), entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR FLEXIBLY PROVIDING SHARED ACCESS TO DATA POOLS”, filed Jan. 25, 2006.
The above stated applications are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
One or more users may wish to access data that was stored using one or more legacy file systems. The data may reside in one or more partitions of a data storage device. The data storage device may comprise one or more data storage drives, such as hard disk drives. The stored data may be accessed and shared by the one or more users. An administrator of the data storage device may wish to suspend or resume access to the shared data for one or more reasons. The administrator may wish to easily and efficiently suspend or resume access to the shared data. Unfortunately, administering or configuring such user access to one or more shares may be an arduous process for the administrator.
The limitations and disadvantages of conventional and traditional approaches will become apparent to one of skill in the art, through comparison of such systems with some aspects of the present invention as set forth in the remainder of the present application with reference to the drawings.
Various aspects of the invention provide a system and method of providing shared access to data stored in non-data pool file systems, substantially as shown in and/or described in connection with at least one of the following figures, as set forth more completely in the claims.
These and other advantages, aspects, and novel features of the present invention, as well as details of illustrated embodiments, thereof, will be more fully understood from the following description and drawings.
Various aspects of the invention provide a system and method of providing shared access to non-data pool file systems. In a representative embodiment, access to the non-data pool file systems may be made by way of using a data pool file system. The data pool file system may employ an exemplary Reiser file system, for example. These non-data pool file systems may be referred to as legacy file systems. A data storage device that generates a data pool file system may be referred to as a network attached storage device (NAS). The non-data pool file systems may originate from standard DOS style partition tables. A file system that utilizes DOS style partition tables is representative of a non-data pool file system. The DOS style partition tables may employ the use of FAT (file allocation table), NTFS, or other like file system formats. The DOS style partition tables may employ file systems that are created using one or more partitions of a data storage drive or hard disk drive.
A data storage device that is networked with one or more data computing devices may be referred to as a network attached storage device (NAS). The data storage device may comprise one or more data storage drives, such as hard disk drives, or any other type of drive. The data storage device may comprise a combination of different types of data storage drives. A data storage drive may comprise any type of media capable of storing data. Hereinafter, the term “hard disk drive” alternatively may refer to a data storage drive or any drive or component comprising a media used to store data. In a representative embodiment, one or more data storage drives or hard disk drives may be incorporated into a data storage device. In a representative embodiment, the data storage device facilitates the incorporation of the one or more additional data storage drives or hard disk drives.
One or more data pools may be created using a data storage device. Each of the data pools may be considered a logical drive. Any unallocated space that resides over the one or more hard drives may be re-partitioned and then subsequently concatenated in order to generate a data pool. Portions of multiple hard disk drives may be used to create the data pool. For example, a portion of a first hard disk drive and a portion of a second hard disk drive may be used to form a data pool. In a representative embodiment, one or more hard disk drives are combined to provide increased data storage capacity and/or to provide data mirroring/data striping. In a representative embodiment, the hard disk drives are physically contained within a single data storage device. The data storage device may be networked using a local area network, for example, to provide a storage facility for any number of communicatively coupled data processing or computing devices. The data processing or computing devices may comprise one or more personal computers, for example.
Various aspects of the invention provide one or more mechanisms by which the network attached storage device (NAS) flexibly provides shared access to data stored in one or more non-data pool file systems. The non-data pool file systems may originate from standard disk operating system (DOS or MS-DOS) style partition tables. The DOS style partition tables may employ the use of FAT (file allocation table), FAT32, NTFS, or other like file system formats. The DOS style partition tables may employ file systems that are created using one or more partitions of a data storage drive or hard disk drive.
As compared with non-data pool data, data pool data is generated from a NAS, as may be referenced in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/087136 filed Mar. 22, 2005. Data pools may comprise one or more shares or shared directories. One or more authorized personnel or users may access data within the one or more shares.
Various aspects of the invention provide one or more access control mechanisms that are implemented by way of executing or running the software that is resident within the NAS (i.e., the ACS). The ACS may reside in a memory, such as a non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) or flash memory of the NAS, as was described in relation to
In a representative embodiment, share access is controlled or configured by way of an administrative interface. The administrative interface may be implemented on any graphical user interface (GUI). The administrative interface may employ the use of a browser such as Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer or Netscape, for example. Share access by way of using a particular protocol may be enabled or disabled using the administrative interface.
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Shares that are created using non-data pool related file systems are created directly from partitions of a data storage drive or hard disk drive. These non-data pool related file systems may utilize standard DOS style partition tables, compared to that of data pool related file systems, such as those utilized by a NAS. Non-data pool related file systems may comprise FAT32, NTFS, or other like file systems. These non-data pool file systems may be implemented using one or more computing devices. The one or more computing devices may comprise one or more personal computers (PCs). Aspects of the invention provide that any non-data pool related data files (i.e., data not residing within data pools) should be readily accessible and identifiable to the NAS. However, a native share, residing within its corresponding data pool, is unable to be created when using such non-data pool related data file systems. As a consequence, the share specific variable database for defining such “foreign shares” is stored in the flash memory. The share specific variable database may comprise one or more name-value pairs. The NVRAM mechanism may utilize a portion of the flash memory (212, FIG. 2) previously described in relation to
An NVRAM variable may be labeled or specified by using a prefix. The prefix may comprise the label, “partition_”, for example. In a representative embodiment, the word “partition” is used because each foreign share maps to a particular partition on a particular data storage drive (or hard disk drive). One or more values may be used to differentiate the one or more foreign shares. A share specific variable may be set to a specific unique value, for example. For example, if there are three foreign shares, ShareA, ShareB, and ShareC, each having corresponding share specific variables (or NVRAM variables), then a potential mapping may be as follows: ShareA may be mapped to the value 0, ShareB may be mapped to the value 1, and ShareC may be mapped to the value 2. A unique prefix may be used for naming a variable associated with a foreign share. In a representative embodiment, a total of six NVRAM variables may be used to identify a foreign share and are named as follows:
In a representative embodiment, the label “NNN” indicates the share number for a share. The six NVRAM variables are used to store or encode information related to a foreign share. The six NVRAM variables may uniquely identify a particular share by way of its share number. The first NVRAM variable, partition_var_NNN_disk_interface, may be set to “USB”, “IDE”, or “SATA” depending on the type interface used to access the data storage drive or hard disk drive containing the non-data pool data. The second NVRAM variable, partition_var_NNN_disk_hardware_model_info, may be set to a string, such as an alphanumeric string, that is used to specify the make and model of the data storage drive or hard disk drive containing the non-data pool data. This make and model information may be read through the IDE, SATA, or USB protocol as required and may be independent of any information written on the data storage drive or hard disk drive itself. The third NVRAM variable, partition_var_NNN_disk_serial_number, may be set to the serial number of the data storage drive or hard disk drive containing the non-data pool data. Each of the IDE, SATA, and USB protocols may provide a mechanism by which to read a data storage drive's serial number. It is contemplated that the serial number, as well as the make and model of the data storage drive, may be determined at the factory and normally may not be changed afterwards. The fourth NVRAM variable, partition_var_NNN_partition_number, may be set to a decimal ASCII string representing the number of the partition in the data storage drive in which the foreign share resides. For example, if the foreign share resides in partition number 3, the value for this variable will equal the value “3”. The fifth NVRAM variable, partition_var_NNN_volume_key, may be set to eight ASCII hex digits that are used to represent a 32-bit value of the “volume key” field of a FAT file system, if the foreign share comprises a FAT file system. Typically, a software that creates FAT file systems inserts a timestamp or other unique identifier in this field such that two different FAT file systems are unlikely to have the same value for the volume key. Inserting this identifying information may insure that when a file system is reformatted on another data computing device (i.e., a personal computer), the one or more NVRAM variables associated with a particular foreign share will no longer be associated with the newly formatted file system when a data storage drive or hard disk drive is re-connected to its associated NAS. The sixth NVRAM variable, partition_var_NNN_volume_label, may be set to a user-visible volume label for the foreign share of a non-data pool data file system. For example, FAT file systems may support a volume label of up to 11 characters for identifying a file system to a user. A NAS may use the volume label as the basis for naming a foreign or native share.
In a representative embodiment, a match is said to occur with a corresponding set of share-specific variables only when the values provided by all NVRAM variables corresponds to that of a particular foreign share. In this representative embodiment, the set of share specific variables comprises six NVRAM variables, for example. In a representative embodiment, one or more variables named or labeled as partition_var_NNN_* are used to store share-specific variable information, where * is the name associated with the share-specific variable NNN. For example, if “partition_var—5_fred” were set to the value “Wilma”, then the foreign share is associated with share-specific variable set number 5, and the variable with the name “fred” now has the value “Wilma”. The share-specific variable set number refers to an index number or partition number corresponding to the share. Each of the share-specific variable set numbers indexes the one or more foreign shares. Hence, the total number of foreign share-specific variable set numbers used for indexing the one or more foreign shares determines the total number of non-data pool shares that are identifiable.
Aspects of the present invention utilize an update mechanism for easily listing all foreign share partition numbers that are currently assigned. The update mechanism allows provisioning of a new foreign share number such that a new partition number does not conflict when one or more share specific variables are created for a previously unassigned foreign share. The update mechanism prevents the NVRAM region of the flash memory from overloading with unused share data. The update mechanism is implemented using two linked lists associated with the NVRAM variables. The roots of the two linked lists correspond to the following NVRAM variables: partition_var_used_list and partition_var_free_list. Each of these two NVRAM variables contains ASCII decimal representation of integers. Each integer represents a foreign share variable set number. For each integer in the linked list, the next integer in the linked list is specified by an NVRAM variable named partition_var_NNN_next, where NNN is a number. If the NVRAM variable partition_var_NNN_next is not set to another value (i.e., NNN), this would indicate that the linked list ends at that point.
In a representative embodiment, the software used by a NAS may be designed such that there is a specific number of different foreign share-specific variable sets (i.e., maximum number of foreign or non-data pools shares) that the NAS will support. The number of different share-specific variable sets used for identifying non-data pool shares may be chosen to minimize the performance and/or memory requirements of the NAS. In a representative embodiment, the number of foreign share-specific variable sets may be set to 50. Initially the numbers 0 through 49 may be provided from a “free list” (a list of “free” or available foreign share-specific variable set numbers). When the numbers 0 through 49 are available, a “used list” (a list of used foreign share-specific variable set numbers) is empty. As new foreign shares are implemented, numbers are allocated for them from the free list and those corresponding numbers are placed on the used list. Also, when one or more foreign shares are recognized by the NAS, the NAS keeps track of the list of foreign share-specific variable set numbers previously used and those that are newly recognized. The NAS orders the list of specific variable set numbers such that any numbers associated with foreign shares that are currently connected are in the list before those that are associated with newly recognized foreign shares. Consequently, the used list is kept in an order that corresponds to the foreign share-specific variable set numbers seen most recently, with the least recently seen foreign share-specific variable number placed at the end of the used list. If the free list is empty and a new foreign share needs to be assigned, the last share-specific variable set number from the used list will be re-assigned to a new foreign share, and all old NVRAM variables for that number will be deleted from flash memory. Of course, in other embodiments, the number of share-specific variable set numbers that are used may be more or less than 50.
An NVRAM variable may be used to specify whether a particular share access control service is enabled or disabled. For example, when CIFS is used as a protocol, a variable termed cifs_enable (i.e., partition_var_NNN_cifs_enable) may be used as an NVRAM variable for determining if CIFS will provide access to a particular foreign share. Likewise, nfs_enable (i.e., partition_var_NNN_nfs_enable) may be used to define an NVRAM variable for determining whether NFS is used to provide access to a particular foreign share. Each of these exemplary NVRAM variables may be set to a value that enables its share access control service; correspondingly each service (i.e., CIFS, NFS, or the like) may provide access to its corresponding share. On the other hand, if either of these NVRAM variables are set to value that disables its share access for the associated service, the corresponding service is disabled. In addition to the one or more NVRAM variables that may be used to enable a particular share access control service, execution of the NAS software may employ the use of one or more default NVRAM variables. If, for example, cifs_enable is not set for a particular share, then its corresponding default control NVRAM variable, cifs_enable_default (i.e., partition_var_NNN_cifs_enable_default), may be used to determine whether or not the share is accessible using the CIFS service.
In the event that the NAS receives a new value for an NVRAM variable, the NAS may set the NVRAM variable to the new value. It may perform this by way of an HTTP “post” operation using a web server or web browser, for example. If necessary, the NAS executes software or code associated with a particular share access control service to either enable or disable access to its associated share. It is contemplated that this is performed differently based on the type of protocol or service used to implement the share control access service. When accessing a share using HTTP, notification may not be performed because each time a data is requested, an HTTP server verifies the values stored in one or more NVRAM variables before authorizing an access request. For NFS, a utility referred to as “exportfs” may be used to update one or more tables in a running kernel. The tables in the running kernel are verified when a request is received using NFS. For CFS, a Samba configuration file may be rebuilt and Samba may be sent a SIGHUP Linux signal. The SIGHUP Linux signal prompts Samba to reread its configuration file. Thereafter, an smbcontrol program, in Samba, may be used with a “close-share” program to send a message to one or more running Samba processes. This facilitates closing any currently open accesses to a share when the share is being suspended.
While the invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.